Posts tagged: environmental justice

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environmental justice


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
16 March 2010, 9:43 AM
They all want EPA to protect rural kids from pesticides

As I write, officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are wading through the tens of thousands of letters Earthjustice supporters and their counterparts at MomsRising, Pesticide Action Network and United Farmworkers sent asking the agency to protect rural kids from pesticides.

These 42,000 people—along with 51 groups in 18 states—are publicly supporting our petition for safety standards to protect children who grow up near farms from the harmful effects of pesticide 'drift'—the toxic spray or vapor that travels from treated fields—and for immediate no-spray buffer zones around homes, schools, parks and daycare centers for the most dangerous and drift-prone pesticides.

As EPA officials complete their tally, I hope they're paying particular attention to the personal stories people shared in their letters. People like Cynthia Piper, of Lakewood, OH, who after seeing children exposed to pesticides suffer from deformities, fought for a right-to-know pesticide spray ordinance in her town. Or JeanAnn Hurst of Chowchilla, CA, whose son was exposed to the nerve-gas pesticide chlorpyrifos while on school grounds. You can find Cynthia and JeanAnn's stories on our interactive map. And if you've had a close encounter with pesticides yourself, please consider submitting your story as well.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
03 March 2010, 2:02 PM
Saving the world 140 characters at a time

The microblogging site Twitter is poised to hit a major milestone: sometime in the next day or so one lucky Twitter user is expected to send out the ten billionth tweet (real-time counter is here).

Whether you love exchanging ideas in 140-character bursts, or if U H8 the resulting abbrevs, people will be paying very close attention to the string of words that mark Twitter's ascension into the big, big time.

So what will that 10 billionth tweet say? How about "Protect Rural Kids From Pesticides! Take action here:http://bit.ly/dyq39N"?

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
01 March 2010, 9:25 AM
Five days left to tell EPA to protect rural kids from pesticides
Teresa de Anda, Californians for Pesticide Reform. Photo is from Tracy Perkins' collection: 25 Stories From the Central Valley

In case you missed it, NPR had a very good piece Sunday on Earthjustice's efforts to protect rural children from "pesticide drift"—the toxic spray or vapor that travels from pesticide-treated fields and into nearby communities.

Each year, nearly a billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed into fields and orchards around the country. And as our partner Teresa de Anda with Californians for Pesticide Reform told the NPR reporter, just about everyone in these agricultural areas has a story to tell about unnerving encounters with pesticides.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
07 January 2010, 4:05 PM
Mountaintop removal, Copenhagen, PATH project, the Tongass

Some top stories from the last two weeks at Earthjustice...

A full blue moon brought us into this new year and decade.  

Perhaps a new year will mean new policy for mountaintop removal mining. Thus far, the Obama Administration has continued to allow companies to destroy mountains, streams, and communities. Could a new article in Science help change its position?

 Many still wonder what exactly happened at the Copenhagen climate conference. Attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal reviewed what went down, the role Earthjustice played in the negotiations, and the way forward for climate progress.

The way forward for the PATH (Potomac-Appalachia Transmission Highline) project was successfully blocked with help from Earthjustice. Turns out the massive Big Coal transmission line simply isn’t needed to the degree its proponents claimed.

 America’s largest temperate rainforest, the majestic Tongass of Alaska, is a resource we do need. Earthjustice filed a lawsuit last week to protect the National Forest under the Roadless Rule. The Bush Administration “temporarily” exempted it back in 2006.

 Dec. 22 marked one year since the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Power Plant flooded 300 acres of shoreline, and more than 25 homes, with toxic coal ash.

 Reflecting on the changing environmental movement, Patti Goldman reviewed some of Earthjustice’s efforts over the past year to help people most impacted by environmental degradation.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
03 December 2009, 9:14 AM
EPA dumps Bush-era rule that allowed unfettered hazardous waste burning

The Bush Years: Sounds like an afternoon special, right? Unfortunately it was a reality we remember all too well.

As President Bush prepared to leave office, his cronies at EPA pushed for a slew of bad rulemakings that favored polluters at the cost of public health and the environment. This came as no surprise back then, and Earthjustice and others did a wonderful job of fighting back and defeating many of these "midnight rulemakings," as they were often called.

One particularly egregious rule, known as the Emissions Comparable Fuels rule, allowed industries to burn up to 100,000 tons of hazardous waste without any federal hazardous waste protections.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
18 November 2009, 12:29 PM
What we're doing to protect kids from pesticides

Luis Medellin and his three little sisters—aged 5, 9 and 12—live in the middle of an orange grove in Lindsay, CA—a small farming town in California's Central Valley. During the growing season, Luis and his sisters are awakened several times a week by the sickly smell of nighttime pesticide spraying. What follows is worse: searing headaches, nausea, vomiting.

The Medellin family's story is not unique. From apple orchards in Washington to potato fields in Florida, poisonous pesticide 'clouds' plague the people who live nearby—posing a particular risk to the young children of the nation's farm workers, many of whom live in industry housing at the field's edge.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
28 October 2009, 4:51 PM
Mountaintop removal mining begins at Coal River Mountain
Coal River Mountain as seen from nearby Kayford Mountain. Photo: Coal River Mountain Watch.

The halls of Congress are echoing this week with debate over proposed legislation to fight global warming—a fight that can't be won without addressing a primary cause of global warming: our dependence on coal. As the rumpus goes on there, a real-life battle between coal and the future of American energy has reached a pivotal moment in Appalachia.

In an effort to protect their familial homes and water resources, residents of West Virginia's Coal River Valley have long fought to prevent Coal River Mountain from being blown apart for the coal beneath it. Local groups like Coal River Mountain Watch, an Earthjustice client, have argued compellingly that the mountain is an ideal site for a wind power facility, which could make the region a model for sustainable, green economic growth.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 October 2009, 12:00 PM
EPA chief asks Congress for new law to protect public from toxic threats

Suppose I asked you to drive a nail into the wall and then handed you a banana to do it. At best you'd make a mess of it—the same mess faced by the Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to keeping the public safe from toxic chemicals. Right job, wrong tool.

Congress handed the EPA a banana in 1976 called the Toxic Substances Control Act, a law that EPA chief Lisa Jackson herself recently described as "an inadequate tool for providing the protection against chemical risks that the public rightfully expects." The numbers bear her out: EPA has required safety testing of only 200 of the roughly 82,000 chemicals registered for use under TSCA. These are chemicals in products that we all encounter every day, from household cleaners to cell phones, toys, carpets and food containers. The result is more potentially hazardous chemicals in our bodies than ever before.

Recognizing this tremendous failure to protect the public, Jackson is asking Congress for a hammer.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
23 July 2009, 10:51 AM
EPA says it will consider impact of Bush rule on low-income communities

Twenty-one citizens and experts testified June 30 at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing about the impacts of living near hazardous waste sites. Among them was Sheila Holt-Orsted, a cancer survivor who's seen her mother, father, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles suffer from cancer and other illnesses believed to be caused by contamination from a Dixon County, Tennessee landfill.

Her father died in January 2007, stricken by prostrate and bone cancer, diabetes and hypertension. In 2003, Holt-Orsted was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After several surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, she began looking for answers and didn't have to look far. Her family's farm was adjacent to the town landfill where toxic chemicals were dumped for years. Among the chemicals was trichloroethylene—a cancer-causing chemical and one of the most toxic agents known to man.

"No other community should have to experience a toxic legacy that has plagued my community," Holt-Orsted testified. "I urge EPA to protect the public's health and environment as RCRA intended it and to say no to this new rule. Get it right this time."

View Susan Britton's blog posts
21 May 2009, 11:10 AM
 

We all know that at long last the global community is taking steps to address the certain catastrophic environmental and health effects of climate change. But let's face it: under even the most optimistic of scenarios, intergenerational injustice has been done, and global warming will be our children's cross to bear.

How possibly to prepare our youngest for the defining challenge of their generation? One place to start is the raft of excellent children's books available on the subject. Herewith are some of my favorites (tested and approved by two spirited elementary school aged children):